LAKE PLACID - More than 300 people are here today through Sunday for the Spring for Hope military family retreat.
Homeward Bound Adirondacks and Creative Healing Connections are the co-hosts. Creative Healing Connections has been hosting retreats for many years for cancer survivors and veterans, although none quite like this. For Homeward Bound, an organization that aims to make this area a hub for veteran healing, it's the biggest event to date.
The retreat is based at the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid, where 125 rooms have been booked, and designed to provide military families with "a weekend to relax, rest, renew and rejuvenate," according to a welcome letter sent to participants.
The retreat features a range of programs from a dozen different presenters: arts and drumming workshops, grounding sessions, family health and wellness presentations, and three soldier resiliency training sessions. Guided hikes led by Adirondack Mountain Club staff, a family movie night at the Palace Theatre, and a night out for parents, with child care provided, are also planned. The 302 participants in the retreat include 222 adults and 80 children.
"Our goal is simple," the welcome letter reads, "for you to depart relaxed, feeling better and more informed than when you arrived."
The cost of the retreat is $75 to $125 per family, based on rank. Full waivers are being issued to some families.
It's a major milestone for Homeward Bound Adirondacks. Based at the Prescott House in Saranac Lake, the group was launched three years ago as a proposed retreat and reintegration center for veterans and their families. It initially struggled to get off the ground, but now it has three paid staff members, has benefited from increased fundraising and has partnered with other groups to host a number of veteran healing and reintegration programs.
Homeward Bound is planning its first Veterans Reintegration Academy, which will feature higher education classes for returning veterans, later this year. The academy is a partnership between Homeward Bound, Clarkson University, Paul Smith's College and North Country Community College.